Today I was reading the end of The Secret Life of Bees with my students and I came across a part of the novel that stood out to me. Interestingly enough, I have read the book a number of times and this scene never affected me before. The protagonist has an emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive father. At the end of the book, they have an altercation where she sees him in an entirely different light. She suddenly is not afraid of him anymore…he is no longer a threat. Instead, she looks at him with pity.
I realized that is how I feel about my dad now. Especially since he had the stroke, I oftentimes look at him and he appears so helpless and just…old. Gone is the dad who used to be able to chase me until he caught me…now he hardly has enough strength to push himself up off the couch. And even though he does not deserve it for the way he acted when I was younger, I do feel sorry for him. It’s hard to admit that because the logical part of my mind recognizes he does not deserve my sympathy.